Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Circle of Violence
During my usual morning routine of having a cup or two of coffee and reading the news on-line, I came upon this story in the NZ Herald about the US soldiers now facing possible death sentences for raping and murdering an Iraqi girl and then killing her family. I'm sure it has been all over the news everywhere but I happened to first read about it here. And my heart sank. For the little girl who knew more horror in her short life than I can fathom. For her family. For the soldiers who've seen and committed more violence than, I believe, any human heart can contain in a lifetime without being irreparably damaged. For this insane war.
Now we are killing the people we are sending over to Iraq to kill the people we want killed because they are now killing the wrong people the wrong way. I get that there are “rules of combat” and “military laws” and that we are after the “Axis of Evil” (which would strike me as comic if it wasn’t so damn sad and arrogant!), and all that other rhetoric. But I am confused.
SINCE WHEN HAS VIOLENCE STOPPED VIOLENCE!?!? I mean, REALLY. stopped it? When has it ever ended the cycle of hatred and desire for revenge from the other side? When has it truly soothed the heart of a mourning mother to know that the killer of her baby has been killed? Is that what truly gives her peace in the deepest part of her being? In how many ways, how many languages and how many sacred teachings are we told the same thing, over and over? We cannot do something to another living being without also doing that thing to ourselves.
Is it easy for me to condemn all these actions from my safe and cozy home, with my warm cup of morning coffee? Sure it is. Would I have the inner conviction and strength and faith of Buddha? Jesus? Gandhi? Mother Theresa? Dali Lama? if I was faced with violence and hatred that hit closer to home? I have my serious doubts about that. But I choose to keep my heart open to the possibility that their weapons of choice; prayer and compassion, will win in the end. But to get there, I have to begin by shedding hatred and violence from my own heart. And I haven't even managed to stop eating meat yet.